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Rivers gets National Centre for Swimming Development

*We are happy to commence project immediately – Wike

With the upgrade and maintenance of the three Olympic sized swimming pools in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, the Director General of the Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc (NSDFI), Mr Olajide Fashikun, has proposed to Governor Nyesom Wike, to make the state the nation’s centre for Swimming Excellence.

Governor Wike in a quick response said, “we are happy for this new initiative. We are ready to do everything possible to make the project work. I am seeing new opportunities, income generation for the government and the people, new generation of swimming champions coming out of here. We are in a hurry to get this running.”

In response, Mr. Boma Iyaye, the Rivers Commissioner for Sports, said that Governor Nyesom Wike’s love and interest to develop sports in the state was unparalleled.

Fashikun who was a part of a team of Sports Editors that attended a one-day retreat on “Understanding The New Laws of Wrestling and Governor Nyesom Wike’s Sports Development Programme” in Port Harcourt, said “this we will do with speed before June this year.”

Iyaye said that Governor Wike’s love for sports was not limited to only human capital development but had carefully touched other aspects of important infrastructure. From your tour of the facilities you can appreciate his vision.

He said: “In 2016, the Alfred Diete-Spiff Civic Centre built over 30 years ago, was given a major face-lift and renovated to meet international standard. It is the venue of the African Wrestling Championship.

“Recently, the government has concluded the process of establishing a football academy in the state in partnership with Real Madrid Football Club of Spain.”

He said that the all the sports events were coming at huge cost to the state but the governor’s love and interest to develop sports in the state was unmatched.

The Rivers Commissioner said the singular fact that sports as a major employer of labour and also a panacea for curbing youth restiveness and criminality in society is a motivating factor.

According to Fashikun, yes, it is the Centre for Swimming Excellence but it shall also have five other sports disciplines benefitting from the funds we shall raise and which a local governance structure will be trained to manage as communities are expected to drive the programme for the benefit of their children.

Emma Okah, Rivers Commissioner for Information and Chairman of the State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Brother Felix Obuah were present at the event. 33 Editors were also in attendance.

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